Hawaiʻi Pacific University, commonly referred to as HPU, is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational university located in Honolulu and Kaneohe, in the U.S. state of Hawaii. Hawaiʻi Pacific University is the largest private university in the central Pacific, most noted for its diverse student body of nearly 7,000 students, representing nearly 80 countries. The school's largest academic programs are in Business Administration, Nursing, Psychology, and International Studies.

Hawaiʻi Pacific University has two main campuses in addition to an Oceanic Institute and Military programs. HPU's downtown Honolulu campus serves most of the business, liberal arts, and other general programs; while the Hawaiʻi Loa campus on the windward side of the Koʻolau Range houses the majority of the science programs.


HPU was founded in 1965 as Hawaiʻi Pacific College by Paul C.T. Loo, Eureka Forbes, Elizabeth W. Kellerman, and Reverend Edmond Walker.

Wanting a private liberal arts college in Honolulu, four prominent and public-spirited citizens—Eureka Forbes, Paul C.T. Loo, Elizabeth W. Kellerman, and The Reverend Edmond Walker — applied for a charter of incorporation for a not-for-profit corporation to be called Hawaiʻi Pacific College. The state of Hawaiʻi granted a charter of incorporation to Hawaiʻi Pacific on September 17, 1965.

In September 1966, Honolulu Christian College established in 1949 merged into Hawaiʻi Pacific College, and a new charter was granted by the state of Hawaiʻi.

In 1967, James L. Meader became Hawaiʻi Pacific College's first President. President Meader, in consultation with community leaders, developed a comprehensive educational program.

When President Meader retired on June 30, 1968, the Board of Trustees elected the Reverend George A. Warmer as Hawaiʻi Pacific's second President. Under President Warmer's leadership, the College implemented academic programs in the liberal arts and cooperative education.

In 1972, Hawaiʻi Pacific College graduated seven students in its first commencement class and in the same year established a School of Business Administration. Chatt G. Wright became the founding Dean of Hawaiʻi Pacific's new School of Business Administration.

In 1973, the College received full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The following years saw the creation of the English Foundations Program, offering instruction to non-native speakers of English, and the Division of Special Programs, administering off-campus instruction on various military installations on Oʻahu.

President Warmer retired in 1976, and Chatt G. Wright became Hawaiʻi Pacific's third President. Under President Wright's leadership, Hawaiʻi Pacific has seen rapid and continuous expansion. Augmenting its undergraduate program of baccalaureate and associate degrees, Hawaiʻi Pacific launched a Master of Business Administration program in 1986, a Master of Science in Information Systems program in 1989, and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management in 1991.

Hawaiʻi Pacific continued to expand and develop throughout the 1980s, and in 1990 became Hawaiʻi Pacific University (HPU).

In 1992, Hawaiʻi Loa College, a small, independent, liberal arts college located on the windward side of Oʻahu, merged into Hawaiʻi Pacific University. Although this campus is commonly referred to as the Windward campus, the proper nomenclature agreed upon from the merge of the two universities is Hawai'i Loa Campus.

In 2003, the HPU Cheer and Dance Program won a Division II (Non-NCAA) National Championship Title. Since then, the Sea Warrior Spirit Program has become one of the most dominant forces in collegiate cheerleading. They have acquired over 25 (Non-NCAA) national titles in the last seven years and continue to be a strategic ambassador for HPU in the continental United States and around the world. The Cheer program has since been disbanded.

In 2004, the HPU International Vocal Ensemble made their Carnegie Hall debut where they performed Morten Lauriden’s Lux Aeterna and O Magnum Mysterium.

In 2011, President Chatt G. Wright retired and Geoffrey Bannister, Ph.D., became HPU's fourth President. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in New Zealand, Bannister received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Toronto (Canada) and previously served as President of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Hawaiʻi Pacific University has two main campuses and access to scientific facilities.

Honolulu Campus (main)

HPU's downtown Honolulu campus serves most of the business, liberal arts, and other general programs. This campus occupies much of Fort Street Mall and surrounds the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. The university has offices and classrooms in some of Honolulu's most prominent buildings, including 1132 Bishop Street and the Finance Factors Center.

Hawaiʻi Loa Campus

The Hawaiʻi Loa campus is located near Castle Junction in Kāneʻohe, on the windward side of the Koʻolau Range. This campus was originally built by Hawaiʻi Loa College, a liberal arts school that was merged into Hawaiʻi Pacific University in 1992. The campus is also referred to as the Windward campus. This campus houses the natural sciences, nursing and health sciences programs. However, other general courses are offered on the Windward campus.

Oceanic Institute

The Oceanic Institute (OI) is part of the university and provides students with access to significant research programs in the marine and oceanic sciences.

Military programs

HPU's Military Campus Programs (MCP) operates full-service campuses on Oʻahu's US military bases, including Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base, Tripler Army Medical Center, Camp H. M. Smith, Schofield Barracks, and Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii. A significant online program[4] is also offered through MCP. Over 3,000 HPU students take courses through Military Campus Programs.


Education at Hawaiʻi Pacific University is based on a traditional liberal arts foundation. Hawaiʻi Pacific University is made up of multiple colleges; these include the College of Business Administration, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the College of Natural and Computational Sciences. HPU offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in each of its colleges and schools.

Hawaiʻi Pacific University is also home to specific academic environments through the Hawaiʻi Pacific University Entrepreneurship Center, ELS Language Center at Hawaiʻi Pacific University, the Oceanic Institute, and the university participation in the Army ROTC program. The university also has an extensive Distance Learning and Online based platform for many of its programs.[5] HPU also has an extensive Study Abroad and Student Exchange Program.[6]

Hawaiʻi Pacific University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Notable faculty

  • Ken Schoolland, Associate Professor of Economics, Author of Johnathan Gullible and Shogun's Ghost: The Dark Side of Japanese Education, Member of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Individual Liberty, and Sam Walton Fellow for Students in Free Enterprise.


The university's athletic teams are called the Sharks. They compete in the Pacific West Conference as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II.[8] Hawai`i Pacific University's first venture into intercollegiate athletics came with the formation of the men's basketball team. The university previously competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics before joining the NCAA in the mid-1990s.

Notable alumni

Notable attendees

  • Sarah Palin, U.S. politician, attended one semester in 1982 at Hawaii Pacific College. It was in her time at Hawaii Pacific that she met dear friend and future running mate John McCain.[13]
  • Chad Rowan, also known as Akebono (Taro), sumo Grand Champion Yokozuna and professional and K-1 wrestler, played varsity basketball for HPU.